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TB News October 3, 2019

Oct 03 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 3, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 3: “Bureaucracies are filled with people who couldn’t get a real job and whose government paychecks ought to be gift-wrapped.

Governments are desperate to prevent any kind of a public uproar that might disturb the status quo so they lie, not to cover up plots but to cover theirs, and others, political asses.

The credulous public, ever frantic for more and increasingly thrilling conspiracies to nurture their small egos, will get their hands on these inventions, water and fertilize them and send them around to others with their own little invented additions.

In the end, the criminal stupidity is effectively masked by the created images and management and government can prepare for the next disinformation campaign.

Those who believe in mysterious conspiracies ought to recognize that they have become unknowing parts of a real conspiracy, the conspiracy of obfuscation, lies and official disinformation.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • ‘We’re not fooling around’: Pelosi and Schiff stand firm as Trump fumes
  • Donald Trump’s bizarre press day was a full-blown impeachment tantrum
  • Impeachment Scandal Shows Why Congress Desperately Needs to Reform What’s Kept Secret
  • Bitcoin is basically a Ponzi scheme
  • Racism in Action: The Neo-Confederate Movement in American Politics
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

We’re not fooling around’: Pelosi and Schiff stand firm as Trump fumes

  • Democratic pair say impeachment inquiry will not be slowed
  • Trump condemned for ‘blatant effort to intimidate witnesses’

October 2, 2019

by Lauren Gambino, Julian Borger and David Smith in Washington

The Guardian

Donald Trump has been accused of “incitement to violence” and threatened with obstruction charges in the fast-escalating battle over impeachment, as the president maintained his aggressive counter-attack against Democratic leaders and the whistleblower who precipitated the inquiry.

“We’re not fooling around here,” Adam Schiff, chairman of the powerful House intelligence committee, said in Washington on Wednesday.

Elijah Cummings, chair of the House oversight committee, revealed that it would issue a subpoena to the White House if it failed to hand over documents on contacts with Ukraine by Friday.

“I do not take this step lightly,” Cummings said, saying the White House had stonewalled on demands for cooperation for several weeks.

The Democrats’ investigative steps have infuriated Trump, who was live-tweeting their press conference on Capitol Hill. He denounced the impeachment process, in block capitals, as “BULLSHIT” and later repeated an extreme claim that Schiff should be investigated for treason.

The speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, announced the start of the impeachment inquiry eight days ago, focusing on a whistleblower complaint that emerged the week before about a July phone call between Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The complaint and a memo of the call issued by the White House have since been released, indicating that Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden, a leading rival for the White House in the 2020 election, while the US was withholding vital aid from Ukraine.

Schiff insisted on Wednesday that the inquiry would not be slowed down by presidential “stonewalling” or threatening language against potential witnesses.

“We’re very busy,” Schiff said. “We are proceeding deliberately but at the same time we feel a real sense of urgency here.”

Democratic-run House committees heard from the state department’s inspector general, an independent watchdog, on Wednesday, followed by the former special envoy on Ukraine on Thursday and the former ambassador to Kyiv next week. But they are battling with the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, about other depositions by state department officials and the handover of relevant documents.

Schiff and Pelosi condemned Trump for rhetoric directed at an intelligence agency whistleblower who revealed details of the phone call at the core of the impeachment proceedings.

Trump has referred to the whistleblower and the officials who provided information included in the complaint as “spies” and implied they should face the death penalty. Senior officials and some leading Republicans have confirmed the whistleblower used recommended legal channels but Trump repeated the “spy” allegation on Wednesday.

Schiff said the president was engaging in “a blatant effort to intimidate witnesses”.

“It’s an incitement of violence,” he said.

“The president probably doesn’t realize how dangerous his statement is,” Pelosi added.

Trump, who was clearly watching the press conference live, unleashed an expletive-laced Twitter tirade.

“The Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT, which is what they have been doing ever since I got overwhelmingly elected in 2016,” he said.

The president continued to tweet every few minutes, lashing out at Schiff, who he called a “lowlife”, until it was time to greet the visiting Finnish president Sauli Niinistö. The fury of Trump’s commentary reflected how impeachment has come to consume his focus and attention.

At a press conference at the end of his meeting with Niinistö, Trump, who repeated one of his favourite self-descriptions as “a very stable genius”, repeatedly refused to answer a question about what he had been asking Zelenskiy to do in relation to the Bidens, and lost his temper at the Reuters journalist asking it.

“Are you talking to me?” Trump shouted. “Did you hear me?” he demanded, telling the journalist to ask the Finnish president a question instead.

In his own struggle with Congress, Pompeo was forced to admit on Wednesday he took part in the July phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy.

Pompeo made the admission while on a trip to Rome, after his participation in the call had been reported in the US press. When asked in a television interview 10 days ago about the Trump conversation with Zelenskiy, Pompeo had looked quizzical and implied he was hearing about it for the first time.

On Wednesday, Pompeo said: “As for was I on the phone call? I was on the phone call.” But he presented the conversation as part of normal state department business, trying to bolster a new Ukrainian government against the threat of Russia.

He referred dismissively to the growing scandal engulfing the Trump administration as “all this noise”.

It has become clear Pompeo has only limited power to stop committees from gathering evidence for an impeachment inquiry.

One of the five witnesses deposed, Kurt Volker, former special envoy for Ukraine who resigned last week, confirmed he would speak to the committees in closed session on Thursday. The Daily Beast reported on Wednesday that Volker resigned as Pompeo was attempting to push him out of his post, in the hope of reducing the pressure on the state department.

Schiff said Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Kyiv, would appear next week. Press reports said she was due to give a deposition on 11 October.

The state department’s inspector general, Steve Linick, went to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to brief members of Congress on documents related to relations with Ukraine. After the briefing, Maryland congressman Jamie Raskin described the material as a collection of conspiracy theories involving some state department officials, including Yovanovitch.

Raskin said he had “no idea” where the documents came from, describing it as “amateurish”.

He said “there may be misconduct” by the Pompeo and state department officials in distributing unsourced material.

 

Donald Trump’s bizarre press day was a full-blown impeachment tantrum

A joint conference with the Finnish president descended into theatrics as reporters pressed for answers on the unfolding scandal

October 3, 2019

by David Smith in Washington

The Guardian

The Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, spent part of his visit to Washington touring Smithsonian museums of American history. He likely saw Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, memorabilia from Barack Obama’s election campaign and reminders of other leaders who, whatever their flaws, strove for a more perfect union.

Then he ran into Donald Trump.

Not once, but twice, Niinistö had to wear a so-this-is-perfectly-normal expression in public as the US president ranted and raved during two question and answer sessions with reporters, playing an even more extreme version of himself (not that the original was middle of the road).

Impeachment, it seems, has got under Trump’s skin like nothing else. Over the past week his tone has become more frantic, frenzied and apocalyptic. On Wednesday, the world saw his id run riot. #TrumpMeltdown trended on Twitter.

“So *NOW* can we *FINALLY* have a serious national conversation about the psychological condition of the President of the United States?” asked George Conway, a lawyer married to the White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway.

Yes, it was dark and scary for anyone worried about the life signs of the 243-year-old republic. But it was also just downright strange, even avant-garde. It was Samuel Beckett. It was Marcel Duchamp. It was John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s bed-in. Trump invited Niinistö to take a front row seat in his theatre of the absurd.

First, the pair spoke to reporters in the Oval Office, against all the usual trappings of fireplace, flags and exquisitely upholstered chairs. Trump was naturally asked about the impeachment inquiry that followed the July phone conversation in which he pressed the president of Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

The president has been trying to paint Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House intelligence committee, as the most zealous witch hunter. “They should look at him for treason because he is making up the words of the president of the United States,” Trump said, hammering away at his theme that Schiff misquoted him at a congressional hearing. “We don’t call him ‘Shifty Schiff’ for nothing. He’s a shifty, dishonest guy.”

Then, an unexpected turn. “You know, there’s an expression: he couldn’t carry his ‘blank’ strap. I won’t say it because they’ll say it was so terrible to say. But that guy couldn’t carry his ‘blank’ strap. You understand that.”

No, not really.

With jazz hands and other random gestures, Trump rambled on a bit and mysteriously changed the nickname of his nemesis to “Shifty Shifft”.

Then a reporter got his turn. “Finnish media here. Finland is the happiest country in the world.”

Trump agreed, “Finland is a happy country,” and playfully slapped Niinistö on his left knee. Niinistö looked uncomfortable but said, “Yeah, for sure.”

The reporter continued: “What can you learn? What can you learn from Finland, which has a social democratic…” Inexplicably, Trump replied: “Well, you got rid of Pelosi and you got rid of Shifty Schiff. Finland is a happy country. He’s a happy leader, too.”

Both leaders chuckled.

After pushing more unfounded conspiracy theories about Biden, Pelosi and Schiff, Trump was ready to wind things up. But another journalist had a question about a New York Times report that the president had suggested protecting his border wall with electrification, spikes and a moat containing snakes or alligators.

First, Trump got his newspapers crossed. “It’s written by Washington Post people, so you know it’s inaccurate. You know it’s probably a fraud.”

Then he admitted the limits of his vocabulary. “OK, ready? That I wanted a wall, but I wanted a moat. A moat – whatever that is. It’s not a word I used, but they used it. A moat.”

A couple of hours later, there was round two, a joint press conference with Niinistö under the cornices and crystal chandeliers of the east room. Anyone hoping that sanity would prevail was in for a disappointment.

More in sorrow than in anger, Trump put his persecution complex on full display and sought to tug at the heart strings. “We had the Mueller collusion delusion, OK? That went on for years. And that’s finally done. No collusion, no obstruction, no nothing. It was a joke, and everyone knows it. And it was from the day one.

The Mueller report did in fact find 10 instances of Trump attempting to obstruct justice. He went on: “Now I get three days of peace, and I’m walking into the United Nations, going to meet with the biggest leaders in the world, and I hear about the word ‘impeachment’. I said, ‘What did I do now?’ And it was about a beautiful conversation that I had.”

Trump clutched a printout of a New York Times article that said Schiff learned about the outlines of the whistleblower’s concerns days before the complaint was filed. But the president’s doesn’t do nuance. “Well, I think it’s a scandal that he knew before,” he said. “I’d go a step further: I think he’s probably helped write it. OK? That’s what the word is.”

Whose word? There is zero evidence that Schiff helped write the whistleblower complaint.

Another question came from the Reuters journalist Jeff Mason, regarding Trump’s use of the word “treason”. The president gave another meandering answer about “Shifty” Schiff and claimed: “Believe it or not, I watch my words very carefully. There are those that think I’m a very stable genius.”

Mason followed up, asking what Trump wanted Zelenskiy to do in relation to Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The president unleashed a tirade about corruption and his misgivings over giving US money. “I don’t like being the sucker country.”

Mason persisted with his original question. “Are you talking to me?” Trump demanded. Then he angrily told Mason to ask Niinistö a question instead. “I’ve given you a long answer. Ask this gentleman a question. Don’t be rude!”

Mason coolly explained: “No, sir. I don’t want to be rude. I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked you.”

Trump retorted: “I’ve answered everything. It’s a whole hoax. And you know who’s playing into the hoax? People like you,” he pointed at Mason, “and the fake news media that we have in this country. And I say, in many cases, the ‘corrupt media’ – because you’re corrupt. Much of the media in this country is not just fake, it’s corrupt.”

The Reuters reporter did put a question to the Finnish president about the World Trade Organisation and illegal tariffs. Trump brusquely interrupted: “That was a big win for the United States, right? You never had wins with other presidents, did you?”

The long suffering, eternally patient Niinistö tried to get a word in edgeways, and finally did: “But I think the question is for me. First of all, when I referred to your democracy, I just wanted to tell that I’m impressed what American people have gained during these decades – a hundred-so years – building up very impressive democracy.

“So,” he added, “keep it going on.”

 

Impeachment Scandal Shows Why Congress Desperately Needs to Reform What’s Kept Secret

October 3, 2019

by Trevor Timm

The Intercept

It’s become clear to anyone with a pulse that President Donald Trump is exploiting the classification system that compartmentalizes secret information within the government. So far, the past several weeks have seen stories about the administration using the classification system to hide embarrassing or potentially illegal conversations Trump had with foreign leaders.

Last week, there was another possible abuse of the classification system at hand: We learned that the Trump administration may be using the system to punish his political rivals — specifically Hillary Clinton, as well as her staff and associates — in an apparent bid to distract from the president’s political woes.

House Democrats are rightly focusing on impeachment, but it’s imperative that they also take up legislation focusing on abuse of the secrecy system. Trump is merely providing several acute examples of the dangers of abusing government secrets, but the classification system had done incalculable damage to our democracy long before he assumed the Oval Office.

After the whistleblower complaint about Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine was made public, we learned that the White House placed notes from conversations with other foreign leaders in a “code-word” computer system meant for highly classified national security information. The motive is obvious: to hide the conversations from all but a small circle of high-ranking White House staffers.

“White House officials are bound by Executive Orders governing the handling of classified materials,” Susan Hennessey, managing editor of the national security-focused website Lawfare, declared on Twitter last week. “This plainly violates the requirement that information not be classified to conceal crimes or avoid political embarrassment.” Clearly, many people were aghast that Trump is seemingly getting away with an unprecedented violation.

Except, as Hennessey likely knows — she used to work in the intelligence community, as a lawyer for the National Security Agency — administrations of both parties going back decades have frequently over-classified information to hide illegal conduct, waste, fraud, abuse, and embarrassing facts. Trump is not an anomaly when it comes to abusing the classification system; he is the norm, just a particularly public and brazen personification of it.

Consider that no one is ever punished for the types of classification abuse prohibited by the executive order Hennessy pointed to. J. William Leonard, the U.S. government’s classification czar under President George W. Bush, has testified before Congress many times about the dysfunctional nature of the classification system. He told a House oversight panel in 2016 that while there are countless instances of government employees being harshly punished for leaking secret information, “to my knowledge no one has ever been held accountable and subjected to sanctions for abusing the classification system or for improperly classifying information.”

Leonard went on to say:

Everyone with a clearance knows that if he or she improperly discloses or otherwise mishandles information that should be classified, even inadvertently, he or she will be subject to sanction, perhaps even to criminal penalties. However, cleared individuals likewise know if they overclassify information, whether willfully or negligently, there will most likely be no personal consequences. Given this disparity, it’s no wonder that the attitude “when in doubt, classify” prevails, notwithstanding any admonition to the contrary.

The secrecy system is beyond dysfunctional; it’s a farce. Even former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden once made a stunning admission: “Everything’s secret. I mean, I got an email saying, ‘Merry Christmas.’ It carried a Top Secret NSA classification marking.”

Examples of this over-classification are far too prolific to list, but here are just a few that relate to oversight of the executive branch and whistleblowers in recent years.

In 2015, the Pentagon completed a partial audit of its finances. The report, which only looked at a portion of Pentagon spending, found more than $125 billion in waste. When officials feared that it would be used to slash the Pentagon’s budget, they promptly suppressed the study and classified the underlying data in the report, “which ensured no one could replicate the findings,” according to the Washington Post.

In 2014, Congress caught wind that the CIA had spied on communications between Senate offices and the person in charge of handling whistleblower complaints within the intelligence community. CIA personnel had read emails between the two parties that discussed whistleblower complaints and passed them up to CIA management. This simple fact took four years of pressure to declassify. We still don’t know what the whistleblower complaints contained.

In 2010, the Justice Department attempted to prosecute NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake under the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking information to journalists after he was stifled when going through the government’s internal whistleblower process. At the center of the case was an unclassified document in Drake’s possession that contained completely innocuous government talking points: It discussed “what a success” the NSA’s surveillance program was. When it was found in his possession, the government retroactively classified it and charged him for possessing it. Thankfully, the case fell apart on the eve of the trial. The judge ended up calling the government’s behavior in the case “unconscionable,” but it didn’t stop the case from ruining Drake’s career. No one — besides Drake — faced any sanctions.

Retroactive classification is a particularly pernicious form of abuse. The government has used it endless times to pull unclassified information into the secrecy regime — sometimes information that has been in the public domain for years.

That’s what the Trump administration did when, amid all the impeachment headlines, it reopened an investigation into several of Clinton’s aides from her State Department days. The targets of the investigations were recently “notified that emails they sent years ago have been retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations,” according to the Washington Post.

Clinton left the government in 2013, so the information contained in those emails is — at a minimum — over 5 years old. Again, while this case seems particularly spiteful, other examples of dubious retroactive classification decisions can fill a 60-page law review article.

In 2016, Clinton decided not to go on the offensive about the secrecy system that was helping to derail her campaign, and it was a huge missed opportunity to point out to the American public that the government often uses its classification stamp in all sorts of malicious ways.

Now, Congress is moving in the opposite direction. Instead of reforming the system to make sure this type of abuse is more easily punished, the only bill Congress has recently taken up related to government secrecy would expand the classification regime — even potentially making it a crime for journalists to publish information about CIA officers who have engaged in torture.

With bipartisan support, Congress recently passed updated language to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in an intelligence community funding bill. The provision, which dozens of transparency and open government organizations protested as a direct threat to press freedom, would make it a crime for anyone to publish the name of a covert CIA officer at any time, for any reason — even if they were committing crimes. The author of the provision, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who is now leading the charge against Trump in the Ukraine scandal, shamefully ignored the concerns of press freedom groups, even though he’s the chair of the “press freedom caucus” in the House.

There are too many egregious examples to list, but I touched on one in The Intercept last year. The story revolved around an “illegal animal killing” on CIA property. After BuzzFeed News’s Jason Leopold got wind of an Inspector General report on the subject, he filed a Freedom of Information Act request for more information. The CIA stonewalled and withheld the report on the incident, claiming that it would “harm national security” to release it. The excuse even covered disclosing the type of animal that was killed.

Leopold sued. Three years later, the government finally relented and revealed the animal in question: a deer. The rest of the report remains classified.

 

Bitcoin is basically a Ponzi scheme  

by Paul Krugman

New York Times

The other day my barber asked me whether he should put all his money in bitcoin. And the truth is that if he’d bought bitcoin, say, a year ago he’d be feeling pretty good right now. On the other hand, Dutch speculators who bought tulip bulbs in 1635 also felt pretty good for a while, until tulip prices collapsed in early 1637.

So is bitcoin a giant bubble that will end in grief? Yes. But it’s a bubble wrapped in techno-mysticism inside a cocoon of libertarian ideology. And there’s something to be learned about the times we live in by peeling away that wrapping.

If you’ve been living in a cave and haven’t heard of bitcoin, it’s the biggest, best-known example of a “cryptocurrency”: an asset that has no physical existence, consisting of nothing but a digital record stored on computers. What makes cryptocurrencies different from ordinary bank accounts, which are also nothing but digital records, is that they don’t reside in the servers of any particular financial institution. Instead, a bitcoin’s existence is documented by records distributed in many places.

And your ownership isn’t verified by proving (and hence revealing) your identity. Instead, ownership of a bitcoin is verified by possession of a secret password, which — using techniques derived from cryptography, the art of writing or solving codes — lets you access that virtual coin without revealing any information you don’t choose to.

It’s a nifty trick. But what is it good for?

In principle, you can use bitcoin to pay for things electronically. But you can use debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, etc. to do that, too — and bitcoin turns out to be a clunky, slow, costly means of payment. In fact, even bitcoin conferences sometimes refuse to accept bitcoins from attendees. There’s really no reason to use bitcoin in transactions — unless you don’t want anyone to see either what you’re buying or what you’re selling, which is why much actual bitcoin use seems to involve drugs, sex and other black-market goods.

So bitcoins aren’t really digital cash. What they are, sort of, is the digital equivalent of $100 bills.

Like bitcoins, $100 bills aren’t much use for ordinary transactions: Most shops won’t accept them. But “Benjamins” are popular with thieves, drug dealers and tax evaders. And while most of us can go years without seeing a $100 bill, there are a lot of those bills out there — more than a trillion dollars’ worth, accounting for 78 percent of the value of U.S. currency in circulation.

So are bitcoins a superior alternative to $100 bills, allowing you to make secret transactions without lugging around suitcases full of cash? Not really, because they lack one crucial feature: a tether to reality.

Although the modern dollar is a “fiat” currency, not backed by any other asset, like gold, its value is ultimately backed by the fact that the U.S. government will accept it, in fact demands it, in payment for taxes. Its purchasing power is also stabilized by the Federal Reserve, which will reduce the outstanding supply of dollars if inflation runs too high, increase that supply to prevent deflation. And a $100 bill is, of course, worth 100 of these broadly stable dollars.

Bitcoin, by contrast, has no intrinsic value at all. Combine that lack of a tether to reality with the very limited extent to which bitcoin is used for anything, and you have an asset whose price is almost purely speculative, and hence incredibly volatile. Bitcoins lost about 40 percent of their value over the past six weeks; if bitcoin were an actual currency, that would be the equivalent of a roughly 8,000 percent annual inflation rate.

Oh, and bitcoin’s untethered nature also makes it highly susceptible to market manipulation. Back in 2013 fraudulent activities by a single trader appear to have caused a sevenfold increase in bitcoin’s price. Who’s driving the price now? Nobody knows. Some observers think North Korea may be involved.

But what about the fact that those who did buy bitcoin early have made huge amounts of money? Well, people who invested with Bernie Madoff also made lots of money, or at least seemed to, for a long time.

As Robert Shiller, the world’s leading bubble expert, points out, asset bubbles are like “naturally occurring Ponzi schemes.” Early investors in a bubble make a lot of money as new investors are drawn in, and those profits pull in even more people. The process can go on for years before something — a reality check, or simply exhaustion of the pool of potential marks — brings the party to a sudden, painful end.

When it comes to cryptocurrencies there’s an additional factor: It’s a bubble, but it’s also something of a cult, whose initiates are given to paranoid fantasies about evil governments stealing all their money (as opposed to private hackers, who have stolen a remarkably high proportion of extant cryptocurrency tokens). Journalists who write skeptically about bitcoin tell me that no other subject generates as much hate mail.

So no, my barber shouldn’t buy bitcoin. This will end badly, and the sooner it does, the better.

 

Racism in Action: The Neo-Confederate Movement in American Politics

 

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African American….And that racism inclination still exists.  And I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.” President Jimmy Carter and former Governor of Georgia.

 

The Neo-Confederate Movement

Robert Lewis Dabney, a 19th century theologian, is considered to be the most early advocate of a theological perspective of the Civil War. Dabney served during the Civil War as the chaplain to General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.  After the war, Dabney argued in books and lectures, based on scripture, that slavery was justified by the Bible and that “slavery was a necessary good for what he called the ‘depraved’ classes.” Sebesta and Hague wrote, “Dabney believed that the Bible legitimated slavery, and thus opposition to slavery was tantamount to rejecting Christianity.

Dabney’s post-Civil War writings established the theological cornerstone from which future Christian Reconstructionists and neo-Confederate theologians and strategists would expand their theological ideology and programmatic endeavors.  Dabney’s writings contain such concepts as: “governments were legitimate only if they derived from the will of God;” “condemned human equality and women’s rights… [and] opposed public schooling…justifying all his positions by Biblical interpretation;” “that modern science and development of the theory of evolution were ‘anti-theological’ and that amongst future generations this would result in a ‘nascent contempt for their father’s Bibles and irreparably damage the South’s ‘Christian households.’”

Three key theologians and theoreticians trace their own intellectual lineage back to Dabney—the late Rousas J. Rushdoony, founder of Christian Reconstructionism at the Chalcedon Foundation; Steven Wilkins, co-founder (with history professor Michael Hill) of the racist, secessionist League of the South; and Douglas Wilson, who heads the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals, Credenda/Agenda, Canon Press, and New Saint Andrews College—all of them located in Moscow, Idaho.

Neo-Confederates believe that with the Civil War, Lincoln was able to expand the power of the federal government beyond constitutional limits, and that with the defeat of the Confederacy the ideals of states’ rights were defeated.  They believe that the 14th Amendment was illegally adopted.  To them this has resulted in the growth of federal government into a Leviathan, a very large monstrous beast in the bible….In this historical view big government, integration and Brown vs. Brown, gay rights, civil rights, feminism, minorities, taxes, FDR, and other issues can be viewed as the result of the American Republic jumping the tracks during the Civil War and being out of control.

The neo-Confederate doctrine that Congressman Ron Paul is associated with believes in the re-establishment of the Confederacy as a Bible-based republic opposed to all laws, rights, or behaviors that cannot be justified according to the Bible.  Its leading theologians have written justifications of slavery as Biblically-based and have described it as a benign social institution.  On theological grounds, neo-Confederates believe the Civil War was a struggle between orthodox Christianity and a heretical Union.  In the mid-twentieth century, many Christian nationalists became politically involved because they opposed the desegregation of white schools and attempts by the federal government to remove their tax exempt status from white private school created to escape the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision to desegregate white-only schools.  The subsequent development of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and the moral pressure this movement exerted on federal, state and local governments, as well as the reign of terror unleashed by the Ku Klux Klan with the implicit support of Southern governors, legislatures, congressmen, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, juries, white clergy, and public opinion all played a role in the development of the neo-Confederate movement.

In September 1957, President Eisenhower ordered federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas to protect nine black children attempting to desegregate a white public school.  In September 1962, President Kennedy ordered federal marshals, Army, and National Guard troops to protect James Meredith as he attempted to enroll in the University of Mississippi.

Indicative of the Southern rage underlying the reign of terror, in May 1964, Sam Bowers, Imperial Wizard of the Mississippi White Knights, declared: “‘The events which will occur in Mississippi this summer may well determine the fate of Christian civilization for centuries to come.’”  This Ku Klux Klan statement is no different than statements from the League of the South that was founded in 1994. Opposition to the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s was not limited to Kirk and the neo-Confederate movement and the John Birch Society. William F. Buckley and the National Review defended the white supremacist.

In 1980, right after the Republican Party’s national convention, Ronald Reagan spoke at the fairgrounds to an audience of over thirty thousand, in Philadelphia, Mississippi, “‘I believe in states’ rights.’” Reagan was following in the footsteps of Barry Goldwater in 1964 who carried only his home state of Arizona and five states in the Deep South. This became a strong indication of future white voting patterns.  One should also consider George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign as the American Independent Party candidate; former Klan leader David Duke’s multiple campaigns as a Democrat, Republican, and Populist; and, Patrick Buchanan’s presidential run in 1992 in the Republican primaries that expropriated Duke’s issues. Between 1954 and 2004 the Republican gains in the House of Representatives was a reversal of the dominance the Democrats had in 1954.  The Democrats had net gains outside the South, but more than all of the Democratic net loss to the Republicans came from the Southern switch. Basicially the racial issue became essential to the ability of conservatives to win elections in spite of economic policies that favored a minority over the majority. It is important to remember that the “New Right” movement that brought Reagan to victory had been deeply involved in opposition to civil rights.

Max Blumenthal reported that after the 1954 Supreme Court decision the late Jerry Falwell “posited segregation as a biblical mandate” and worked with the FBI to try and smear Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. as a “communist subversive,” the same charge raised by the John Birch Society. King’s subsequent assassination has never been satisfactorily solved and the accepted stories that James Earl Ray was, like Oswald, the lone assassin does not stand up to objective analysis.  In 1966, Falwell started the Lynchburg Christian Academy, “‘a private school for white students.’”  And, as Michelle Goldberg noted, “what spurred them [the Christian Right] into action was the IRS’s attempt to revoke the tax-exempt status of whites-only Christian schools, schools that had been created specifically to evade desegregation.”

Steven Wilkins, co-founder of the racist, secessionist League of the South, is “arguably the most prominent member of the neo-Confederate clergy,” and a “resident instructor at the R.L. Dabney Center for Theological Studies” and “writes for almost all the religious publications and groups that advance neo-Confederate and Christian nationalist ideas. Another follower of Dabney is theologian Douglas Wilson.  For more than 30 years Wilson has run a mini-Christian Reconstructionist empire in Idaho that includes the New Saint Andrews College; Logos School, a private Christian academy; the Association of Classical and Christian Schools that certifies such private academies; Canon Press; the journal Credenda/Agenda; and, the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals.  Both Wilkins and Wilson, writing separately or jointly, are major proponents of the theological war thesis and defend “slavery as Biblically justified.”

Writing in 2002, Sebesta and Hague reported that the “Sons of Confederate Veterans heritage organization, Christian Reconstructionist bodies such as the Chalcedon Foundation, and the League of the South now generally accept the theological war thesis….Collaboration between the Christian Reconstructionist movement and the League of the South has also increased, evidencing a growing overlap in the historical, political and theological perspectives of participants in both organizations.

The practical effect of this conflation of nationalisms is an opposition to the following, according to Michael Hill, co-founder of the League of the South: loss of American sovereignty to foreign institutions; “‘radical egalitarianism; feminism; sodomite rights; Third World immigration; gun control; hate crime legislation (almost meant to be used against whites); judicial tyranny; burdensome taxation; multiculturalism and diversity (code words for anti-white, anti-Christian bigotry); the universal rights of man; and other manifestations of a new brand of politically-correct totalitarianism.’”

The other major neo-Confederate organization of interest here is the radical libertarian Ludwig von Meises Institute headed by Lew Rockwell, a long-time friend and political-business partner of Ron Paul.  In 2003, the Institute and the associated LewRockwell.com spearheaded a protest against the erection of a President Abraham Lincoln statue in Richmond, Virginia, while holding a “Lincoln Reconsidered” conference.  LewRockwell.com also hosts a “King Lincoln” archive of articles by leading neo-Confederate writers. The Institute also serves as an adjunct home to neo-Confederate professors Thomas D. Lorenzo, Donald Livingston, and Clyde Wilson.  Lorenzo, a professor of economics, has written that the Civil War was fought to end the right of secession, not to end slavery.  He was the star of the “Lincoln Reconsidered” conference.  Livingston, a professor of philosophy who specializes on David Hume, he was the first director of the League of the South’s Institute for the Study of Southern Culture and History.  Livingston’s writings have strongly defended the right of the pre-Civil War South to secede and has written that Lincoln started the Civil War in order to establish a centralized state. He also was present at the “Lincoln Reconsidered” conference.  Lastly, Clyde Wilson is the “biggest intellectual heavyweight associated with the neo-Confederate scene.” Wilson specializes in the writings of John C. Calhoun, “the preeminent states’ rights theorists before the Civil War.” Wilson was also a founding member of the League of the South.

 Libertarianism—Born Racist

To sort through these conflicting claims on the centrality of race to the Tea Party movement it is necessary to cover the following salient issues raised by some of the writers.  It is clearly evident that the conservative movements in the United Sates have never accepted integration in any of its manifestations and it is also true that the Tea Party movement is forcing the conservative movement in the United States towards the ultra-right and its strong racial sentiments. To what degree has Ron Paul adopted the Southern Strategy of abandoning the N-word racism and adopting the abstract and race-neutral code words and public policies that still amount to a defense of states’ rights and a defense of white supremacy or white nationalism?  To what degree is libertarian economic philosophy inherently racist?  And, finally, is this inherent racism the reason why libertarian writers such as but not limited to David Weigel and Glenn Greenwald still blandly refer to Ron Paul as a “libertarian” and a champion of “individual liberty” but prefer not to discuss his support for a white Christian nationalist and inherently anti-black agenda?

It is clearly evident that twentieth century libertarianism was born racist and is inherently racist.

That conclusion rests on the authority of none other than the late Murray N. Rothbard, co-founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute along with Lew Rockwell and Ron Paul.  The Institute is not only one of the main neo-Confederate think tanks—one of the key components of the Ron Paul network—but also the primary institution supporting Ron Paul and his Tea Party movement.  The Institute is also the home of the Christian Reconstruction economic libertarian Gary North, who is also the informal strategic adviser to Ron Paul.

According to Rothbard, this libertarian coalition was hard-core regressive: “A few libertarian extremists wanted to go all the way back to the Articles of Confederation, but the great bulk of the right was committed to the United States Constitution—but a Constitution construed so ‘strictly’ as to outlaw much twentieth-century legislation, certainly on the federal level” (emphasis in original).

Edward Sebesta, in an early article on “The Neo-Confederate Movement,” established that Russell Kirk, “perhaps the most prominent conservative of the 20th century,” “promoted the values of southern conservatism and ultimately the neo-Confederates.” Kirk was an early supporter of the Southern Partisan, a leading neo-Confederate journal that attracted conservative writers from across the country, not just the South.  Kirk’s considerable prestige, prodigious writings, and intellectual support ensured that “the values of southern conservatism and admiration for the Confederacy, became accepted and not peripheral, not sectional for conservatism.”

William Voegeli in article on “Civil Rights & the Conservative Movement” noted that Buckley in 1957 wrote an article “Why the South Must Prevail” in which Buckley asked “‘whether the White community in the South is entitled to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically?….The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.’”

Voegeli noted that Buckley “regularly” expressed “the asymmetry of his sympathies—genuine concern for Southern whites beset by integrationists, but more often than not, perfunctory concern for Southern blacks beset by bigots.” Buckley’s views resembled “that of the ‘Southern Manifesto’ signed in 1956 by nearly every senator and representative from the South” which accused the Brown v. Board decision of ‘destroying the amicable relations between white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races.  It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding.’”

The Southern Manifesto was more than a manifesto.  Part of the white supremacist reaction was a reign of terror against civil rights workers and any African American who could be made an example of for disturbing the apartheid system.  The other reaction was the use of Tenth Amendment (states’ rights) to nullify the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling.  For example, the Florida and Georgia legislatures passed laws that with slightly different wording stated, “‘decisions and orders of the Supreme Court of the United States denying the individual sovereign States the power to enact laws relating to the separation of the races in public institutions of a state are null, void and of no force or effect.’”

Conservative opposition to all civil rights legislation continued with Goldwater’s argument derived from legal advice given by his legal advisers William Rehnquist and Robert Bork that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was “‘a grave threat’ to a constitutional republic in which fifty sovereign states have reserved to themselves and to the people those powers not specifically granted to the central or Federal government.’” With all due respect to Rehnquist and Bork, the Ninth Amendment gave all unenumerated rights to the people and none of these unenumerated rights to the states.

Conservative and Republican opposition to all civil rights legislation and the defense of states’ rights continued under the GOP’s Southern Strategy—a strategy the Republicans have never repudiated and continue to follow.  According to the late Lee Atwater, the essence of the strategy was to conceptually shift the focus away from overt and explicit expressions of racism (the N-word) to “say[ing] stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.”  When candidate Reagan went to Philadelphia, Mississippi, and said “‘I believe in states’ rights’” that Reagan “was elbow deep in the same race-baiting Southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon.”  As Bob Herbert noted, “When Democrats revolted against racism, the G.O.P. rallied to its banner.”

Like the Southern Manifesto which claimed that relations between the races during the Jim Crow era were “amicable” and based on “friendship and understanding,” the neo-Confederate movement sought to portrays racial relations under slavery as highly favorable to the slaves and a burden to the slave masters.  A book written in the 1950s claimed, “‘No, the Southern planter’s work was civilizing the poor, deluded Negro—the greatest missionary work known to history….The institution of slavery as it was in the South, so far from degrading the Negro was fast elevating him above his nature and his race.”

Steven Wilkins and Douglas Wilson co-authored a 1996 book, Southern Slavery: As It Was, which claimed that “‘Slavery as it existed in the South…was a relationship based upon mutual affection and harmony….There has never been a multiracial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world.’”

In addition to the Ludwig von Mises Institute, other leading neo-Confederate organizations include the Council of Conservative Citizens, Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Rockford Institute in Illinois.  There are many others.

It is the core belief of the League of the South, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Christian Reconstructionist Chalcedon Foundation that the Civil War “was a theological war over the future of American religiosity fought between devout Confederate and heretical Union states” and that the Confederate “battle flag and other Confederate icons are Christian symbols and the assertion that opposition to them equates to a rejection of Christianity

Central to the concept of “banal white nationalism” is the much larger concept of the neo-Confederacy which has as its basic principles, among others: states’ rights, local control of schooling, Christian traditions, Confederate symbols, Southerners are persecuted as racists, a natural social hierarchy, white men being dominant in a social hierarchy stratified by race and gender, a disdain for gays and lesbians, and an opposition to modern democracy.  Much of this is no longer unique to neo-Confederates, but extends to Christian nationalists, variants of libertarianism, and other white nationalists.  Moreover, there are institutional linkages across domains such as Christian nationalist and libertarian organizations and white nationalist organizations.

It should therefore come as no surprise that there are two main flags associated with the Tea Party movement—the Confederate flag symbolizing slavery and treason (the neo-Confederates would prefer secession) and the Gadsden flag symbolizing patriotic revolution

That no Republican or Tea Party movement leaderships vociferously opposed the presence of the Confederate flag, or Nazi symbols or references, is indicative of just how pervasive this neo-Confederate mindset, banal white nationalism, and anti-Semitism are in the larger conservative movement.

Also noted is the proliferation of Nazi symbolism and rhetoric associated with the Tea Party movement.

The Christian Reconstructionist Component of the Neo-Confederate Movement

Frederick Clarkson, in his 1997 book Eternal Hostility—The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy—identified the key theological ideas of Christian Reconstructionism developed by Rushdoony: “the Bible is to be the governing text for all areas of life—such as government, education and law;” “Reconstructionists have formulated a ‘Biblical worldview’ and ‘Biblical principles’ to govern and inform their lives and politics;” “Reconstructionists…set a course of world conquest or ‘dominion,’ claiming a biblically prophesied ‘inevitable victory;’”  “Epitomizing the Reconstructionist idea of biblical ‘warfare’ is the centrality of capital punishment…for apostasy (abandonment of the faith), heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, ‘sodomy or homosexuality,’ incest, striking a parent, incorrigible juvenile delinquency, and in the case of women, ‘unchastity before marriage’…[and] women who have had abortions should be publicly executed.”  Clarkson noted that Christian Reconstructionism is “arguably the driving ideology of the Christian Right today.”

That is not to imply that Christian Reconstructionism did not have variants or that the Christian Right adopted wholesale the Christian Reconstructionist theology, or did not have other theological influences.  The Christian Right, for example, has conveniently ignored or softened its approach to the death penalty for the wide variety of “crimes” demanded for by Rushdoony.  But, it has largely adopted its agenda.  Clarkson noted that the Christian nationalist’s Council for National Policy’s secular and theological agendas range “from the dismantling of the public schools, to the criminalization of abortion and homosexuality, the radical deregulation of every major consumer and environmental protection initiative of the federal government, and the weakening, if not elimination of civil rights laws protecting the interests of women and minorities.”

A decade later Michelle Goldberg in her 2007 book, Kingdom Coming—The Rise of Christian Nationalism, observed its totalitarian “elements.”  Goldberg wrote that Christian nationalism was a “totalistic political ideology” based “on the conviction that true Christianity must govern every aspect of public and private life, and that all—government, science, history, culture, and relationships—must be understood according to the dictates of scripture.  There are biblically correct positions on every issue, from gay marriage to income tax rates, and only those with the right worldview can discern them.”

the historical revisionist interpretation of America being founded as a “Christian nation” is the “war on the courts.”  Goldberg noted that the “Christian nationalists view the courts as the last intolerable obstacle to their palingenetic dream.  Believing America to be a Christian nation, they see any ruling that contradicts their theology as de facto unconstitutional, and its enforcement tyrannical.  They’re convinced that they must destroy the judiciary’s power to liberate themselves.”  Moreover, the Christian nationalist effort to strip the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts from hearing cases related to the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause “could let state governments criminalize abortion and gay sex [read vociferous advocacy of states’ rights under the Tenth Amendment].  It could sanction the reinstitution of school prayer and the teaching of creationism and permit the ever greater Christianization of the country’s social services…It could intrude into the most intimate corners of Americans’ private lives.”

Goldberg described one event (among several) in which Republican congressional staffers came together with neo-Confederates, Christian Reconstructionists, and others who had subconsciously absorbed Rushdoony’s dominionist message.

At a mid-2005 Confronting the Judicial War on Faith rally key speakers included Michael Peroutka, a prominent militia supporter, member of the League of the South, and former presidential candidate of the Constitution Party; Howard Phillips, founder and head of the Constitution Party; and, Herb Titus, the party’s former vice presidential candidate in 1996, and the founder and former dean of Oral Roberts’ Regent University Law School.  David Gibbs, a lawyer trained at the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, subconsciously echoed the Christian revisionism of Rushdoony and David Barton, founder of the Texas-based Wallbuilders and leading pseudo-historian promoting the myth that America was founded as a “Christian nation.” Gibbs told the crowd, “‘How many here understand we were founded as one nation under God?…That’s why the Ten Commandments are so important.  They were the original source of American law.  The Bible was understood to be authoritative.  When the founding fathers said, ‘One Nation under God,’ they made the decision that they would submit to what God had put forward in his law.’”

The purpose of the Judicial War on Faith rally was to express support for the Constitution Restoration Act authored by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was impeached over his refusal to remove a nearly three-ton monument of the Ten Commandments from the capitol’s judicial building, and Herb Titus.  The Constitution Restoration Act was introduced in 2004 into the Senate by Senators Sam Brownback and Richard Shelby, and, the House by Representatives by James Sensenbrenner. Blumenthal reported that the Act “authorized Congress to impeach judges who failed to abide by ‘the standard of good behavior’ supposedly required by the Constitution.  Refusal to acknowledge ‘God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government,’ or reliance in any way on international law in their rulings would also trigger impeachment.”

Goldberg reported that the totalitarian elements and a desire for the physical destruction (death) to judges came from both religious and secular speakers.  Reverend Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America for “‘patriot pastors,’” prayed for the death of Judge George Greer who had decided the Schiavo case: “‘Father, we echo the words of the apostle Paul, because we know Judge Greer claims to be a Christian.  So the apostle Paul said in his First Corinthians 5…deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may saved in the day of our Lord Jesus.’”  The constitutional lawyer Edwin Vieira in criticizing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in the Lawrence v. Texas case (in a defeat for states’ rights, it struck down Texas’ sodomy law), admiringly borrowed a truncated phrase from Joseph Stalin as a solution to the “‘personnel problem,’” “‘No man, no problem.’”  Stalin’s full quote: “‘Death solves all problems: no man, no problem.’”.

Chris Hedges in his 2006 book, American Fascists—The Christian Right and the War on America—reported on the “racist and brutal intolerance of the intellectual godfathers of today’s Christian Reconstructionism.”  Based on his reading of Rushdoony’s The Institutes of Biblical Law, Hedges observed that “The Jews, who neglected to fulfill God’s commands in the Hebrew scriptures, have, in this belief system, forfeited their place as God’s chosen people and have been replaced by Christians….Rushdoony dismissed the widely accepted estimate of 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust as an inflated figure, and his theories on race often echo those found in Nazi eugenics, in which there are higher and lower forms of human beings.  Those considered by the Christian state to be immoral and incapable of reform are to be exterminated.”

The other key development in movement towards an American theocracy is the influence of the John Birch Society upon R.J. Rushdoony and the Christian nationalists’ Council for National Policy.

Rushdoony admired the cellular structure of the John Birch Society as having a ‘strong resemblance to the early church.’”  Furthermore, Christian “Reconstructionist literature can be found in JBS affiliated American Opinion bookstores.  Indeed, the conspiracist views of Reconstructionist writers (focusing on the United Nations and the Council on Foreign Relations, among others) are consistent with those of the John Birch Society.”  While the Christian Reconstructionists placed their primary emphasis on orthodox Christianity rather than politics, As Welch who founded the John Birch Society in 1958 said, ‘This is a world-wide battle, between lightness and darkness; between freedom and slavery; between the spirit of Christianity and spirit of [sic] anti-Christ for the souls and bodies of men.’”

The Council for National Policy “‘was inspired by business and political leaders who were also leaders of the John Birch Society.’”16 Nelson Bunker Hunt, a member of the John Birch Society’s national council, assisted Tim LaHaye, a former JBS trainer and later co-author of the very successful Left Behind series of fictional ‘Rapture’ novels, in founding the Council for National Policy.

Ron Paul has made the following comment on the Patriot Network website: “If we stuck to the Constitution as written, we would have no federal meddling in our schools; no Federal Reserve; no U.S. membership in the UN; no gun control; and no foreign aid.  We would have no welfare for big corporations; or the ‘poor;’ …no arrogant federal judges usurping states’ rights; no attacks on private property; no income tax.  We could get rid of most of the cabinet departments, most of the agencies, and most of the budget.” This is a mixture of Christian Reconstructionism and Posse Comitatus ideology.  There should be no surprise that the founder of The Patriot Network is also the founder of the South Carolina Constitution Party and the state’s Libertarian Party.

Let’s Rescue the Race Debate

by Charles M. Blow

“There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. … Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs … There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well.”

This 100-year-old, cobbled-together quote from the “the Great Accommodator” Booker T. Washington has gotten quite a bit of circulation in the right-wing blogosphere since the Tea Party came under attack over racial issues.

The quote helps support a broader sentiment that the current racial discontent is being fueled by a black liberal grievance industry that refuses to acknowledge racial progress, accept personal responsibility, or acknowledge its own racial transgressions. And that the charge of racism has become a bludgeon against anyone white and not in love with President Obama, thereby making those whites the most aggrieved — victims of the elusive reverse-racism Bigfoot. It’s perfect really: the historic words of a revered black figure being used to punch a hole in a present-day black mythology and to turn the world of racism upside down.

(The fact that those on the right would glom onto this quote is fascinating from a cultural/historical perspective. The quote is a not-so-subtle swipe by an aging Washington at his young nemesis, W.E.B. Du Bois, an Obama-like figure who advocated a more broad-based, activist movement for racial equality to be led by an erudite black intelligentsia. This is so riddled with ironies that I couldn’t possibly tackle them all in this column. Maybe another time. Rain check, please!)

The argument of these whites minimizes the victimization of others while magnifying their own victimization. While their argument may hold for some individuals, when you look at blacks writ large, the argument falls apart.

According to an ABC News poll conducted last year, blacks are even more likely than whites to admit that they “have at least some feelings of racial prejudice.” Thirty-eight percent of black

For more objectivity, we need more scientific measures like Project Implicit, a virtual laboratory maintained by Harvard, the University of Washington and the University of Virginia that has administered hundreds of thousands of online tests designed to detect hidden racial biases. Tests taken from 2000 to 2006 found that a whopping three-quarters of whites have an implicit pro-white/anti-black bias, while 40 percent of blacks had a pro-black/anti-white bias, about the same amount as those admitting racial prejudice in the poll.

Furthermore, a January poll by the Pew Research Center found that most blacks agree that blacks who can’t get ahead are most responsible for their own condition. Only about a third said that racial discrimination was the main reason.

This whole hollow argument is further evidence that many whites are exhibiting the same culture of racial victimization that they decry.

The latest evidence of this comes in a poll released this week that was conducted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute and financed by the Ford Foundation. The poll found that 62 percent of whites who identified as Tea Party members, 56 percent of white Republicans, and even 53 percent of white independents said that today discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. Only 30 percent of white Democrats agreed with that statement.

It’s an extraordinary set of responses. And my question is the same one used by the right to defend the Tea Party against claims of racism: Where’s the proof? There’s a mound of scientific evidence a mile high that documents the broad, systematic and structural discrimination against minorities. Where’s the comparable mound of documentation for discrimination against whites? There isn’t one.

We can find racial prejudices in all segments of the population, but pretending that the degree and consequences are comparable is neither true nor helpful. And attributing to the agitation of the “colored” masses to the self-aggrandizement of a callous few is truly detrimental.

In fact, some on the right seem to be doing with the race issue what they’ve done with the climate-change issue: denying the basic facts and muddying the waters around them until no one can see clearly enough to have an honest discussion or develop thoughtful solutions.

I had thought that the reflexive denials and defenses of many on the right were simply an overreaction to, in their view, being unfairly accused of racism on too broad a scale. My present worry is that denial may be the new normal and that the hot language of the past summer has cooled and hardened into a permanently warped perception of the very meaning of discrimination and racism. I worry that the last bit of distance between where we are and where we want to be on racial reconciliation is being drawn through an ever-narrowing, ever-more-treacherous terrain.

In the name of progress, the public must reclaim the facts of the race debate in this country. Many racial problems have been solved but many remain. Some we must tackle within our individual communities and others must be dealt with between them. Racism isn’t everywhere we imagine it, but it is in far more places than we admit. If we can start from common points of agreement, we can come much closer to common ground. But to do that, everyone must step out of the shadows of denial and into the brutal light of honesty.

Booker T. Washington was right that there are some who may not “want the patient to get well.” Those people exist on all sides of the debate, and they will always be there. But they’re a minority. Cast them aside. Let the rest of us start with this point of agreement: The patient is doing better but is still sick.

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 3, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.

 

 

Conversation No. 22

Date: Friday, July 5, 1996

Commenced:   1:45 PM CST

Concluded:   2:10 PM CST

GD: Did you have a safe Fourth, Robert?

RTC: Oh my, yes, Gregory. I was out in the street firing off rockets at passing police cars. And you?

GD: No, I stayed inside. Little children setting the garage on fire with Grandma tied up inside or shooting bottle rockets into gas tanker trucks on the freeway. Plastic surgeons must have loved the Glorious Fourth back when we had real firecrackers to fire off. Missing eyes, fingers and other body parts. Terrified and singed cats and dogs, not to mention grass fires and burning shake roofs. I can just see you firing off rockets into passing cop cars, Robert. With your training and previous employment, no doubt the rockets blew the occupants into bloody cat meat.

RTC: Such an outburst of rage, Gregory.

GD: I am a man of sorrows and acquainted with rage, Robert. How about the Company setting off a small A-bomb in some hitherto harmless country and blaming it on mice?

RTC: Now that’s something we never did. In fact, we prevented at least one nuclear disaster.

GD: What? A humanitarian act? Why, I am astounded, Robert. Do tell me about this.

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, sometimes we can discuss serious business. There were times when we prevented terrible catastrophes and tried to secure more peace. We had trouble, you know, with India back in the 60s when they got uppity and started work on an atomic bomb. Loud mouthed cow-lovers bragging about how clever they were and how they, too, were going to be a great power in the world. The thing is, they were getting into bed with the Russians. Of course, Pakistan was in bed with the chinks, so India had to find another bed partner. And we did not want them to have any kind of nuclear weaponry because God knows what they would have done with it. Probably strut their stuff like a Washington nigger with a brass watch. Probably nuke the Pakis. They’re all a bunch of neo-coons anyway. Oh, yes, and their head expert was fully capable of building a bomb and we knew just what he was up to. He was warned several times but what an arrogant prick that one was. Told our people to fuck off and then made it clear that no one would stop him and India from getting nuclear parity with the big boys. Loudmouths bring it all down on themselves. Do you know about any of this?

GD: Not my area of interest or expertise. Who is this joker, anyway?

RTC: Was, Gregory, let’s use the past tense, if you please. Name was Homi Bhabha.1 That one was dangerous, believe me. He had an unfortunate accident. He was flying to Vienna to stir up more trouble, when his 707 had a bomb go off in the cargo hold and they all came down on a high mountain way up in the Alps. No real evidence and the world was much safer.

GD: Was Ali Baba alone on the plane?

RTC: No it was a commercial Air India flight.

GD: How many people went down with him?

RTC: Ah, who knows and frankly, who cares?

GD: I suppose if I had a relative on the flight I would care.

RTC: Did you?

GD: No.

RTC: Then don’t worry about it. We could have blown it up over Vienna but we decided the high mountains were much better for the bits and pieces to come down on. I think a possible death or two among mountain goats is much preferable than bringing down a huge plane right over a big city.

GD: I think that there were more than goats, Robert.

RTC: Well, aren’t we being a bleeding-heart today?

GD: Now, now, it’s not an observation that is unexpected. Why not send him a box of poisoned candy? Shoot him in the street? Blow up his car? I mean, why ace a whole plane full of people?

RTC: Well, I call it as it see it. At the time, it was our best shot. And we nailed Shastri 2  as well. Another cow-loving raghead. Gregory, you say you don’t know about these people. Believe me, they were close to getting a bomb and so what if they nuked their deadly Paki enemies? So what? Too many people in both countries. Breed like rabbits and full of snake-worshipping twits. I don’t for the life of me see what the Brits wanted in India. And then threaten us? They were in the sack with the Russians, I told you. Maybe they could nuke the Panama Canal or Los Angeles. We don’t know that for sure, but it is not impossible.

GD: Who was Shastri?

RTC: A political type who started the program in the first place. Babha was a genius and he could get things done, so we aced both of them. And we let certain people there know that there was more where that came from. We should have hit the chinks, too, while we were at it, but they were a tougher target. Did I tell you about the idea to wipe out Asia’s rice crops? We developed a disease that would have wiped rice off the map there and it’s their staple diet. The fucking rice growers here got wind of it and raised such a stink we canned the whole thing. The theory was that the disease could spread around and hurt their pocketbooks. If the Mao people invade Alaska, we can tell the rice people it’s all their fault.

GD: I suppose we might make friends with them.

RTC: With the likes of them? Not at all, Gregory. The only thing the Communists understand is brute force. India was quieter after Bhabha croaked. We could never get to Mao but at one time, the Russians and we were discussing the how and when of the project. Oh yes, sometimes we do business with the other side. Probably more than you realize.

GD: Now that I know about. High level amorality. They want secrets from us and you give them some of them in return for some of their secrets, doctored, of course. That way, both agencies get credit for being clever.

RTC: Well, you’ve been in that game, so why be so holy over a bunch of dead ragheads?

GD: Were all the passengers Indian atomic scientists?

RTC: Who cares, Gregory? We got the main man and that was all that mattered. You ought not criticize when you don’t have the whole story.

GD: Well, there were too many mountain goats running around, anyway. They might have gotten their hands on some weapons from Atwood and invaded Switzerland.

RTC: You jest but there is truth in what you say. We had such a weight on us, protecting the American people, often from themselves I admit. Many of these stories can never be written, Gregory. And if you try, you had better get your wife to start your car in the morning.

GD: How about my mother-in-law, Robert? Now do you see why Kimmel doesn’t want me talking to you? It isn’t that he’s afraid you might talk to me; I think he’s afraid I might corrupt you with my evil designs.

RTC: Tom means well but he’s dumb as a post. Most of the FBI are keyhole peepers at heart and should keep the hell out of espionage. Yes, Tom thinks I am getting senile and you are persuading me to give up state secrets. I may be old and I do forget names sometimes but I am not gaga yet, not by a long shot, and I’ve done a lot more important things than Tom ever did chasing car thieves and people dragging whores over state lines to a cheap motel.

GD: I don’t think you’re crazy, Robert and, you know, I once discussed you with him. He wanted to know what you were talking about with me and I told him we were discussing stamp collecting. He was not happy with this. I know he views me as a terrible person, but I can’t help that. He said you weren’t the person you used to be and I said who was? I asked him if he was better or worse that he had been at twenty and he got mad at me. Self-righteous, Robert, self-righteous.

RTC: Well, you certainly aren’t that, Gregory.

GD: Well, you’re not crazy and I’m not wicked. I am right, aren’t I? Please tell me I’m right, Robert. I’ll cry myself to sleep if you don’t

RTC: (Laughter) You’re a truly bad person, Gregory.

GD: I know. I told Jesus that last night when we were playing poker. He keeps hiding cards in that hole in his side.

RTC: Tell that to the Pope.

GD: We don’t get along anymore since I ran over his cat.

 

(Concluded at 2:10 PM CST)

  1. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, October 30, 1909 – January 24, 1966 was an Indian nuclear physicist who played a major role in the development of the Indian atomic energy program and is considered to be the father of India’s nuclear program. He died when Air India Flight 101 crashed near Mont Blanc in January 1966. Strong evidence pointed to a sabotage by the CIA intended at impeding India’s nuclear program. ,
  2. Lal Bahadur Shrivastav October 2, 1904 – January 11,1966 was the third Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement. After the declaration of ceasefire, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR, now in modern Uzbekistan), organised by Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration.The next day Shastri, died, supposedly of a heart attack, at 1:32 AM.He was the only Indian Prime Minister, and indeed probably one of the few heads of government, to have died in office overseas. Like the death of Homi Bhabha a few daye later, the fatal heart attack has long been suspected as a means on the part of the Russians to remove a potential enemy armed with nuclear weapons.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

   Lisa Shiel

 

Lisa Shiel first made (sort of) a name for herself as a frequent commenter on various science-related blogs, committing the most beautiful illustrations of fractal ignorance and misunderstandings you can imagine. In 2009, she channeled her efforts into an apparently self-published book, The Evolution Conspiracy vol. 1: Exposing the Inexplicable Origins of Life and the Cult of Darwin. Shiel has a masters degree in library science. She does not understand evolution. According to the blurb (we won’t pretend to have read the actual book), Shiel’s work is ostensibly novel in that she sets her religious beliefs aside: “Instead of criticizing evolution in an effort to promote her personal beliefs, she’s chosen to examine evolutionary theories and the evidence attached to them through a secular lens.” That may be the case, but is hardly a guard against deranged nonsense. As Shiel sees it, “[t]he theory of evolution involves numerous complicated and confounding strands,” which is somewhat contradicting her claim, on the blurb for the book, that evolution is “deceptive in its simplicity” and that “anyone can understand evolution”. How many strands? “almost as many strands, I dare say, as DNA itself” (so: two; dare we suspect that Shiel’s knowledge base on DNA is somewhat shaky?). For instance, scientists are now talking about genetic driftas a major driver of evolution – clearly this must be bollocks; it is apparently also unscientific since “no one has ever reproduced the creation of a species via either natural selection or genetic drift,” which is, needless to say, not quite how testingworks in science. Moreover, “toss into this mess the recent discovery that some species ‘evolve’ genetically while remaining unchanged anatomically,” and “the recent discovery that cryptic species can fool us too – two creatures look identical, but their DNA identifies them as different species.” At this point it is only right and proper to toss up your hands and declare conspiracy. At least she is refreshingly straightforward about her contempt for science; young-earth creationists tend to try to talk their way around that part.

Indeed, Shiel is currently promoting herself as an “author of paranormal adventure fiction and nonfiction,” and her most popular work may not be her confused anti-evolution rants, but her books Backyard Bigfoot and Forbidden Bigfoot: Exposing the Controversial Truth about Sasquatch, Stick Signs, UFOs, Human Origins, and the Strange Phenomena in Our Own Backyards, in which she not only criticizes the mainstream position that “Bigfoot are nothing more than large, bipedal apes” and argues that this is “merely disinformation”, but, according to an Amazon reviewer, “gives her arguments on why she believes Sasquatch has metaphysical properties.” Apparently the book lays out her views on fairies and crop circles, too. She has written several novels as well. Probably more than she thinks.

Diagnosis: Exceptionally confused, but probably harmless.

 

Steven Myers

Deranged, home-made theories defended with motivated reasoning by “independent scholars” are a dime a dozen, and the Giza pyramid is a common target. Edward J. Kunkel, for instance, argued – in his book The Pharaoh’s Pump – that the great pyramid in the desert at Giza was a water pump. The idea is silly for an impressive range of reasons, but silliness hasn’t stopped independent scholars before and probably won’t in the foreseeable future.

Now, Kunkel is long dead, but his ideas are still ardently promoted by one Steven Myers, who runs a website and a foundation devoted to the idea, The Pharaoh’s Pump Foundation, which, Myers claims, is going to build a pump using ancient Egyptian technology. It’s been going for a while, but we haven’t seen much by way of goal accomplishments. Now, why would Myers want to build a pyramid pump, you may wonder? Apparently because the “ancient pumping technology is nonpolluting and does not require fossil fuels or electricity to operate.”And now you may wonder precisely how they did operate. Well, according to Myers, the pyramid pump was fueled by fire. It must be a novel type of non-polluting fire, then, presumably fed by the renewable, lush and fertile forests of the Giza area. There seem to be some gaps still in the Kunkel-Myers hypothesis.

Perhaps he has given up on it. Apparently the project was motivated in part by the doomsday rants of Richard Noone, and the pumps ostensibly needed to be built with some urgency to pump away the water from melting polar ice caps following the cataclysmic events of May 5, 2000, when Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were aligned with Earth, a date that came and passed with no notable weather events (or pumps).

Of course, Myers is not without his critics. Christopher Dunn, for instance, has argued that the Giza pyramid is a power plant working “by responding harmonically with the seismic energy contained within the Earth.” As Lakatos pointed out, competing research programs are important to good scientific progress.

Diagnosis: At least he’s harmless. Which is more than can be said of many of the loons covered here recently.

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